The United States-based cryptocurrency company Harmony announced on Friday that thieves took digital coins worth approximately $100 million from one of its core products.
This incident is the latest in a line of cyber heists on a sector that has been targeted by hackers for a long time.
Blockchains and non-fungible tokens are two of the products that Harmony creates. Blockchains are used for so-called decentralized finance, which refers to peer-to-peer sites that offer loans and other services without the usual gatekeepers such as banks.
Thefts have long been a problem for businesses in the cryptocurrency industry, and blockchain bridges are increasingly being singled out as targets.
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According to the blockchain analytics business Elliptic, which is based in London, more than one billion dollars has been stolen from bridges so far in 2022.
The company, which is situated in California, stated that the theft affected their Horizon “bridge,” which is a tool for transferring cryptocurrency across several blockchains. Blockchains are the underlying software that is utilized by digital tokens such as bitcoin and ether.
1/ The Harmony team has identified a theft occurring this morning on the Horizon bridge amounting to approx. $100MM. We have begun working with national authorities and forensic specialists to identify the culprit and retrieve the stolen funds.
— Harmony 💙 (@harmonyprotocol) June 23, 2022
On Twitter, Harmony announced that it was “working with national authorities and forensic professionals to identify the offender and restore the stolen funds,” but the company did not provide any other information.
According to a statement released by Harmony, the company has a global staff that is “working around the clock to address the issue.”
“We are currently narrowing down the potential attack vectors while working to identify the culprit,” a spokesperson said, adding that Harmony had already tried to contact the hacker by making a transaction to their cryptocurrency wallet address.
“We are currently working to identify the culprit,” the spokesperson said.
Elliptic, which monitors data that is publicly visible on blockchains, reported that the hackers stole a variety of cryptocurrencies from Harmony, including ether, Tether, and USD Coin, which they later traded for ether using so-called decentralized exchanges.
Elliptic said that the hackers also stole USD Coin.
Although Harmony has not officially disclosed the specifications of the attack, Twitter user Ape Dev apparently identified a flaw in the bridge’s security in April. Ape Dev claims that in order to allow the transfer of money, hackers just needed access to two multisig private keys.
This is far from the first time that malicious parties have taken advantage of a blockchain bridge weakness. In fact, compared to some prior breaches from just this year alone, this $100 million loss is actually on the low end.
Hackers broke into the Ronin Bridge in March and stole cryptocurrency worth approximately $540 million. Ronin Bridge was used to transfer cryptocurrency into and out of the game Axie Infinity. The United States provided evidence that hackers from North Korea were responsible for the heist.